A Curiously Intriguing faerie story. – AP Forum version.
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
Couple of talking points this week, several in fact. The whole gamut, from Estimates to the RAOz v AOPA slugfest and CASA’s little games; the new CASA bored and the upshot of that little how-d’ya-do (if any); the lack of measurable progress in reform: in short, all the usual big questions which remain unanswered. They can wait, for just a short time, while we take a look at the Essendon fireball; or uncontrolled flight into terrain based tall structures.
Search 4 IP reference: https://www.auntypru.com/forum/thread-10-…ml#pid9354
It is a reasonable assumption to make that behind the scenes, there is a lot of arse covering going on at very high levels. Lots of rice bowls to protect – which begs the question – could the investigators reports to the ATSB HV Hood top echelon have been ‘refined’? There’s plenty who’d say “absolutely”, it is not a ‘new’ phenomena and our High Viz Canary is no stranger to smoothing out the bumps and straining out the lumps in the ministerial soup.
Holmes – “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
The ‘problem’ we have with the Essendon accident is obvious; we cannot follow Holme’s method. We cannot eliminate the impossible, nor can we even come to grips with that which is improbable. But we do have some curious, intriguing facts to work with. Most of these come from the ‘real’ investigators – and; no matter how they are dressed up, they exist, in fact. More of that later; meanwhile, we must begin as the Red King said to Alice- at the beginning.
In primus; we must consider the pilot. The incident at Mt Hotham put the bloke under the peer spotlight, forget the regulator for a moment, and think about it. I imagine that at very least there would be some residual effect; no matter how the pilot viewed it. At very least, he’d be a little gun-shy, not wanting to give anyone any more to say – give a dog a bad name, etc. There is no mention of ‘state of mind’ in the ATSB report. There is no mention of his attitude, retrospective of his ‘re-training’. He could have gone any one of three different ways and probably another three to boot. So we have no idea how his ‘load’ was being carried. Perhaps, and I am speculating here, maybe the notion of pulling up early in the piece and facing down the inevitable ‘chatter’ outweighed good, safe practice. We’ll never know and ATSB didn’t bother to find out. Or, if they did, then that part has been consigned to the irrelevant pages. To me it seems important, simply because IMO there was ‘time’ and ‘space’ available to haul off the coals and stop; rethink, test and go again. Personally, from the scant data provided, I believe I may have given the take-off away. Too hard to say for certain; however, lets take a look at some of the deeper facts, carefully disguised within this dreadful report. In the spirit of ‘what-if’. Let us take a stroll, quiet like, through some of the questions ATSB investigators have left hanging, the carefully glossed over ones.
“As the story grew, it put down roots into the past and threw out unexpected branches.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
ATSB page 29. – “The CVR control unit, located in the cockpit, allows a pilot to test the serviceability of the CVR system. The power supply for the CVR unit was fitted with an ‘impact switch’ designed to stop the recorder and prevent any erasure feature from functioning when deceleration forces similar to those expected in an accident are sensed. ZCR was fitted with a Fairchild model A100S CVR in June 1996, at about the time the aircraft entered service. The fire-damaged CVR was removed from the wreckage and transported to the ATSB’s technical facilities in Canberra for examination. The CVR was successfully downloaded, however, no audio from the accident flight was recorded. The recovered audio related to a previous flight on 3 January 2017. This recording began at the expected time prior to engine start. The recording stopped, however, at about the time the aircraft landed at the arrival aerodrome. The post-landing taxi and engine shutdowns were not recorded. It was likely that the ‘impact switch’ was activated during the landing and power was removed from the CVR.”
ATSB – Lockhart River (B 14) – “The ‘g’ switch is installed to interrupt power and preserve the CVR recording in the event the aircraft being subjected to excessively high acceleration forces.
Skybrary – “The ‘G’ switch was designed to interrupt power to the CVR and preserve the recording if excessive g5 force was experienced, etc.”
This is but one of the unexplained, not examined ‘mysteries’. Fair dinkum; had the air-frame sustained a heavy; or, landing hard enough to trip the ‘g’ switch? Is it not possible, or worth considering that there was air-frame damage done prior to the accident flight? Think about it; was the aircraft ever really under pilot control from the time it hit about 40 knots; off centre line and diverging? Is it remotely possible that the expected control responses were not available? If you start with the assumption that all trims were correctly aligned pre- flight; it opens up a whole new bag of questions.
Then there is the puzzle of the missing rudder control lock to consider. ATSB never found it. They found, behind the RH pilot seat, the quadrant collar and the aileron/ elevator pin; but no rudder bar. This is a piece of steel about ½ ‘ thick, with a spring. You waggle the rudder pedals, put one end of the bar onto the hole behind the pedal; compress the spring, align the pedals and seat the remaining end into the conveniently located hole at the back of the adjacent pedal. Some operators dispense with the ‘cable’ attachment, for convenience and ease; there is no information from ATSB about the state of the aircraft control locks, company procedures or habits. Consider, had the rudder bar been left on the floor – loose’ could it have disappeared, like a high speed rabbit, down the slots for the rudder pedals and buggered up the ‘controls? We don’t know, but nor do the ATSB; and we should at least be able to eliminate it from our inquiries. N’est-ce pas?
Then, we arrive at the curious affair of the full up elevator trim. The BRB was intrigued by the blasé treatment this item received. Full left rudder can be sheeted home, without a scrap of proof to ‘slack’ pre-flight checks; the ATSB insist; but full ‘up’ trim is just shrugged off – WTD? Ask any Be20 pilot about take off power + full back trim + full left rudder trim; it would be a short, wild ride. Did the pilot have his thumb on the trim button for the 12 second duration” If so why? Then consider the flight path achieved –
You could, if you had a mind to, ask the same questions of the ground distance run and of the speed/ climb profile; it’s nuts.
I could rattle on all day – paraphrasing the comments of seriously experience Be20 pilots; none of whom can present a compelling scenario or definitive answer; not on the mish –mash, half truth, half fiction, slightly rounded confection the commissioner has chosen to publish. If I was to stick my neck out and run a book on it; favourite, at fairly short odds would be No Control, out of Lost it by Previous Damage. Which; at 5/1 on, is at better odds than Snow Job out of Yellow Canary by Vested Interests.
Aye, it would be nice to know exactly what caused this horrific accident; there may even be a safety lesson in there. But, as it stands right now – the pilot took off with full left rudder trim, on account of the ‘fact’ he failed to use his check list. BOLLOCKS.
There is a large, furry paw planted on my knee, I look down into a pair of intense amber eyes which pass along a clear message. “Lets go”. So we shall, off into the crepuscular dawn, to walk and think and to decide how best to plane up 48 meters of 4×2 selected Spruce ‘four square’ for TOM’s birthday present. His new work bench; the old one has seen long service in hard ports; time for new one. Right then , best crack on, before the fur bearing critters get stroppy and wind DT up. Cunning beggars are they.
HVH smoke’n’mirrors faerie tale in pictures: